Sound advice to teens
Thursday, 02 October 2014 10:06

Bill Gates once told high school students:
- life is not fair, so get used to it
- you won't make a six-figure salary straight out of school
- your boss won't hand you a free phone until you've earned one
- if you think your teachers are tough, wait until you meet your boss
- if you think washing dishes is beneath you, some call it 'opportunity'
- if you stuff-up, don't blame your parents; learn from your mistake
- before you were born, your parents really were quite intelligent
- if you think your parents are boring, they became so from paying your bills
- real life isn't divided into four terms with four lots of annual holidays
- few employers will help you to 'find yourself'; do that on your own time
- TV is not real life. In real life people leave the coffee shop and go to work
- be nice to nerds, because one day you might end up working for one

 
Hot air madness
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 05:52

Last Thursday in the doctor's waiting room I was flicking through a glossy magazine, when I came across an ad; it was a pretty photograph of two hot air balloons floating above a river in Kenya. The caption read, 'Paradise high above the Masai River'. I'm pretty certain the bend in the river is the exact same one right at Governor's Camp, cited as the world's third most stunning holiday destination. Trouble is, when we were there, from the resort's deck you looked down onto a bunch of enormous crocodiles lazing on the riverbank. The idea of hot air ballooning scares the bejesus out of me at the best of times, but the thought of being in one were it to run out of puff right above the Masai River makes for just about the scariest thought imaginable. Ponder that when next booking your holiday destination.

 
Robots take over
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 19:33
So, a company in the US has appointed a robot to its board (Good Weekend 27 Sept '14). Robots went off the radar for a while, but they're back with a vengeance and soon will adjudicate traffic infringement disputes, decide our tax returns, handle welfare payments and resolve insurance claims. Full-time employment will be a thing of the past. Jobs which remain will be in employee-owned co-operatives. Thank God that my job requires my personality, that it's about establishing personal relationships with humans. I'd like to see a machine ask someone to give away $1,000,000. The Good Weekend article also says we will soon be eating 3D meat. But the bit I liked best is where the Japanese now have a toilet which analyses your stool and sends a health advice to your phone.
 
The Chookhouse
Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:47

Vera, a neighbour at our farm, wanted to give us four hens, an idea to which we warmed because it would mean free eggs for life. The race was on to build a chookhouse. Finding a site was easy. We'd inherited a concrete slab next to a leafy oak tree (leafy in summer). Plus, the area faced north (tick that one, too.) I'd read where foxes had scaled a three-metre-high fence to eat what was on the other side, so I covered the roof with chicken wire. Even the gate was snug to prevent the odd tiger snake enjoying chicken Maryland. The laying boxes got an external lid, for easy egg collection. Lastly, in went drip feeders and watering devices. The whole thing turned out to be quite nifty, quite a showpiece, except of course the cost. By my reckoning, the enterprise cost $40 per egg spread over the next decade.

 
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